In its pursuit of collecting art with nineteenth century Middle Eastern theme, The Farhat Art Museum found itself not only collecting art but also documenting and archiving an important part of the Arab history which mainly was documented by Western artists and photographers. Those paintings and photographic images were the true mirror that reflected the colonizer’s perception of the colonized regions.
The worst among them were the French. They came to North Africa and the Levantine countries with the attitude of disrespect toward the culture, history, and natives. But they also left with a very large number of documented images through art and photography and that is what is called Orientalism.
Among those pieces in the Farhat Collection is an artwork by Louis Frederic Correard (1815-1858) These are two oil on canvas panels measuring 29X21 inches titled,
“Fair Trade”. Of course, the artist, in his work uses the satirical approach to amuse and entertain his collectors who are the French Bourgeois back in Paris. The story tells how the beautiful, young Arab, Algerian adolescent is traded among the French Zouaves soldiers with a basket of eggs, three sheep, a duck, and a goose. The trade between the French Zouave depicts the satisfied older soldier holding the goods in comparison to the younger soldier holding the young, frightened adolescent who clearly has been ripped from her secure comfort of her familial hearth.
This genre was geared for the entertainment and pleasure of the French elite back in Paris. These paintings are also documenting the accurate perception of the French toward the North African people. When the French Army occupied North Africa, specifically Algiers, for over a century, they did not go to Algiers to educate or support the natives in their quest for a better life, but to colonize, enslave, and sexually abuse the young, adolescent Algerian girls. It took the Algerians on million martyr and a century later to be able to free themselves from the barbaric control which the French government and its army had imposed on the natives. Until now the French government has not compensated the Algerians nor issued an apology for their savage and inhumane treatment.
Benezet Dictionairre :-
Louis Frederic Correard
Born in Paris 1815, died in the same city 29 april 1858
he participated in the Frensh Salon of art for the first time in 1849
with the painting Portrait of Mrs. Dupuis-Correard.
By 1852, the French Army included three regiments of Zouaves. Each of the three line regiments of Zouaves was allocated to a different province of Algeria, where their depots and peace-time garrisons were located. In 1854 a fourth regiment was added, the Zouaves of the Imperial Guard. The Crimean War was the first service which the regiments saw outside Algeria.